Catalog Archive
Auction 133, Lot 489

"Praga, Bohemiae Metropolis Accuratissime Expressa [on sheet with] Egra urbs a fluvio…", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Prague, Czech Republic

Period: 1583 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. I

Color: Hand Color

18.7 x 13.2 inches
47.5 x 33.5 cm
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Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.

At top is a panoramic view of the Bohemian capital of Prague situated on the banks of the River Vltava and surrounded by verdant hillsides of the Vltava Valley. The three distinct sections of the city are visible in the view: the Stare Mesto (Old Town) surrounding the Vysehrad (high castle), the Nove Mesto (New Town), and the Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter) clustered around the Prague Castle. The Charles Bridge connects the Mala Strana to the Nove Mesto. Much of this development dates from the reign of Charles IV (1346-78) when Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the most important city in central Europe. Below is a view of the city of Cheb, on the River Eger, from which the town derived its original name. The Imperial Palace dominates the view. Latin text on verso.

References: Fussel p. 88.

Condition: B+

There are some light stains and a tiny worm hole in the title cartouche at top.

Estimate: $500 - $650

Sold for: $500

Closed on 9/1/2010